Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sterilized Counterculture

"We’ve reached a point in our civilization where counterculture has mutated into a self-obsessed aesthetic vacuum. So while hipsterdom is the end product of all prior countercultures, it’s been stripped of its subversion and originality."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dale Chihuly, meet Marcel Duchamp . . .

"A few readers denigrated Chihuly as "the Thomas Kinkade of sculpture," which even I consider too severe, though I also wish I'd thought of it first."

I did not read the original review, but I think the ideas and comments presented here are relevant in how they address the process of dialogue about art on a local level (except a threatened and out of place comment about the dirty bloggers.) Of particular interest to me is the "blockbuster" museum show that appeals as entertainment to a much wider audience in a city, thus selling a lot more tickets, and the academic response of mild horror to such fluffing and mass-appeal.

We witnessed firsthand the birth of this trend as we waded through the lines of Greater-Chicagoland-Area-Surbabanites trying to crowd into the mega-Monet exhibition to get to our first year studio classes. It is marketing genius that is great for maintaining a financially healthy institution but it undermines the mission statement of said institution in a number of fundamental ways by so strongly focusing on market competition and advertising to sell tickets and merchandise. This would be akin to having a "Dead Sea Scrolls" reading at the Spanish National Library in Madrid, which would cause me to want to go all of a sudden, pay an inflated admission price, and buy an umbrella and coffee table book; much to the dismay of the historians and law students who are trying to digest the dense manuals inside.

As a side note, Chihuly is based in Western Washington State and for better or worse it is impossible in Seattle to avoid him and his workshop spawn anywhere that shows art. I was aware of his influence long before I knew who Duchamp was and it has always perked my interest to see his work displayed elsewhere, increasingly in high end museums.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


My Bloody Valentine is to rock & roll as J.W.M. Turner is to painting. The reunited band played their first show in thirteen years in June. Link to a bootleg of the set.A video was recently posted on a Internet Archive of the public's reaction to a 1969 Edward Keinholz show at LACMOA. It's really engrossing. (Link.) See also, Duchamp's Art Coefficient (via Ubuweb.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

They like him in Berlin...

The crowd spilled away from the Column for blocks. Police spokesman Bernhard Schodrowski said there were more than 200,000 people, nearly three times the 75,000 Obama drew in Oregon this spring in his largest previous audience.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trickle-down... the drain.

I can't wait for the economic stimulus effect of the Bush tax cuts to start.